One family of carefree plants is the genus Ribes L. or Currants and Gooseberries. There are more than 150 species of Ribes, according to the U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS). And approximately 50 of those are native to
North America. This ARS webpage is an excellent resource on all things Ribes: Currant and Gooseberry Genetic Resources.
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum), while not native, is a common shrub form found in many residential settings. We have a line of them along the foundation of our sunroom at the back of the house. Frankly, they were neglected for years. I pruned them back pretty dramatically in the spring, so they looked better this year. But they’ll still need some attention next growing season.
document with great detail about Ribes alpinum: Alpine Currant. Ohio State University
Apparently only male plants are propagated and sold in the
, which would explain why my Alpine Currants never have berries. But they look pretty as a backdrop to more showy plants. U.S.
Here are more benefits of Alpine Currant:
- Thrives in full sun to full shade (what other plant can claim that?);
- Wide habitat range: zones 2 to 7;
- Urban stress-tolerant and very cold-hardy;
- Adaptable to various soil types, pH levels, and moisture levels;
- Foliage forms all the way to the ground; and
- Attractive bright green foliage darkens and turns glossy in the summer.
On that last point, several sources list Alpine Currant as having little ornamental appeal, but I rather fancy the Maple-like leaf form and its variegated color in autumn.